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updated: 4/13/2014 10:49 PM

Ramirez homer saves another White Sox bullpen mishap

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  • Alexei Ramirez celebrates as he rounds the bases after hitting the game-winning, 2-run homer in the ninth inning Sunday at soggy U.S. Cellular Field.

      Alexei Ramirez celebrates as he rounds the bases after hitting the game-winning, 2-run homer in the ninth inning Sunday at soggy U.S. Cellular Field.
    Associated Press

 
 

We'll start with the comeback, then move on to the brewing closer controversy.

Showing once again this is not the 2013 offense, Alexei Ramirez ended a long, rainy Sunday afternoon game on the South Side with a 2-run homer off new Indians closer John Axford.

With one out in the ninth inning Ramirez jumped on Axford's first pitch, a high fastball, and hit it out to left field to give the White Sox a 4-3 victory. The start of the game was delayed 1 hour and 15 minutes, and another rain delay in the fourth inning ran 45 minutes.

In the end, it was well worth the wait as the Sox won three of four from a Cleveland team they went 2-17 against last year.

"Everybody knows me as an aggressive hitter," said Ramirez, off to a great start with a .420 batting average, 3 homers and 12 RBI. "I'm going to go for a good pitch. I'm going to go looking for a good pitch to hit, and when I get it I'm going to swing at it.

"That's what happened. I got a good pitch. He's a really good pitcher, and he just left me pitch up there and I was able to put a good swing on it."

The Sox (7-6) came from behind to win for the third time this season, a promising sign.

"Last year they (Indians) probably won it," manager Robin Ventura said of Sunday's game. "It's nice for us to be able to do this. The feeling is, even though you're down you feel like you can come back. That's a very good feeling to have offensively.

"Even if something like that happens, you can still come back and tie it up or go ahead like we did."

The "something like that" happened in the top of the ninth inning.

After Marcus Semien put the White Sox in front 2-1 with a solo home run in the eighth, new closer Matt Lindstrom came on for the save.

Cleveland's Michael Brantley led off the ninth inning with a groundball that first baseman Jose Abreu booted for an error. Lindstrom proceeded to give up consecutive singles to Yan Gomes and David Murphy, the latter hit scoring Brantley to tie the game.

With Nick Swisher at the plate and two outs, Gomes scored the go-ahead run on Lindstrom's wild pitch.

Lindstrom ended up getting the win thanks to Ramirez's heroics, but the longtime setup man has blown 2 of 3 save opportunities and has a 5.40 ERA.

The Sox are never afraid to changes closers, and Lindstrom already looks like he'd be better off pitching in the seventh or eighth inning.

"The first thing, the guy (Brantley) gets on, it's tough conditions to play defense, definitely," Ventura said. "Jose had a tough ball there. The first one, and then a couple guys get hits. Closing's tough, it's not easy for anybody. Once you give them an extra out, for whatever reason, whether you're walking a guy or there's an error that happens, it becomes tough, especially in a 1-run game."

White Sox starter Jose Quintana probably deserved the win after pitching 6 innings and allowing 1 run on 5 hits, but Indians mound opponent Corey Kluber was equally effective over 7⅓ innings.

"I feel good because we won," Quintana said. "I don't have control about the decisions. Close game, Kluber threw a really good game. Every time we play the Indians, it's a close game. But we won, you know, that's important for us."

sgregor@dailyherald.com

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